Friday, August 27, 1999
Administrator DeManche reduces hours to part-time
The board of selectmen were faced with a difficult decision in early August when town administrator David DeManche told chair Doug Stevenson that he was thinking of leaving. On August 3, in executive session, the board discussed possible alternatives, and on August 12 town employees were told that DeManche would be taking a temporary part-time leave of absence.
DeManche explained that his request was made primarily because of the demands of his wife's business. She owns a school in Northborough which recently moved into a larger facility and "it's requiring more of me." While DeManche said that may diminish once the school year starts, he is uncertain.
In a letter to town boards, DeManche outlined his schedule. "I will be working a limited work schedule during the months of September, October and November....On the weeks in which there is a board of selectmen's meeting, I will be in [full days] on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On weeks in which there is no meeting, I will be in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday." Stevenson said if DeManche decides to leave in November, he has agreed to remain part-time until a replacement is on board.
When asked who would assume the balance of the administrator's workload in the interim, Stevenson responded that selectmen have agreed to pick up some of the slack. Also, DeManche will be available on his "off" days to fulfill important responsibilities, answer phone calls and work at home, if necessary.
Long-time secretary Natalie Ives retired in July leaving another void in the selectmen's office, but Stevenson believes the new secretary could assume some of the administrator's duties due to an increase from 20 to 35 hours. At the August 24 selectmen's meeting, DeManche informed the board that he had concluded the interview process and hired Margaret McNally as the new secretary. McNally should be in place September 1 when DeManche reduces his hours to part-time.
Having heard some negative feedback about the board's decision, Stevenson commented, "In defense of the board's decision, the job market is not good and it was the middle of the summer....We believe this is the best option for the town at this point." He said some selectmen could still remember the difficulties during the transition when former administrator Teresa DeBenedictis resigned in August 1997 after two years of service and there was a temporary administrator until DeManche assumed duties in November 1997. Prior to DeBenedictis, Paul Cohen filled that office and he, too, departed prior to the completion of his three-year contract.
Concluding a telephone interview earlier this week, DeManche said he wanted residents to know that his decision was not performance-related. The selectmen's July review of the administrator shows that on average he received a 22.9 rating on a 30-point scale, which is the second highest category and above average.
There will be another new face in the Town Hall as building inspector Bob Koning has hired Priscilla Bunker, former Carlisle resident and Mosquito employee, as secretary to fill a role previously assumed by Ives. Earlier this year, Melissa Stamp replaced Annette Markley as an assistant to the assessors.
With a new recreation director and building inspector secretary coming on board, there has been some discussion of space issues in the Town Hall. Stevenson explained, "It's not an issue of enough space, it's an allocation of space. A reconfiguration of desks is needed. Don't let anyone tell you we need a new Town Hall!".
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito